Drinking Water: Extreme Weather Events Threaten Quality, Says Report

The greatest risks to water quality come from cumulative impacts of extreme weather events that happen sequentially, like a drought followed by a wildfire followed by a flood, says joint Australian-US study. As climate change likely increases the frequency of extreme weather events, resilience must be built into the management of watersheds and water treatment systems for recovery to happen. [Sunday Morning Herald]

Report: Society's Water Safety Net Is Fraying

A new National Research Council report examines possible "tipping points" that might occur if the rate of groundwater pumping rapidly increases. As surface water-scarce regions get drier amidst climate change, early warning water and drought monitoring systems could be necessary to protect precious resources. [Circle of Blue]

Report Highlights Corn Ethanol's Devastating Toll

A new EPA report identified the Renewable Fuel Standard mandate for blending corn-based ethanol into the gasoline supply as a significant cause of pollution in the Gulf of Mexico. Nitrogen and phosphorous applied to corn crops in the Mississippi River basin run off of fields and eventually flow into the gulf where they can cause "dead zones." [AgMag Blog]

People Near 'Fracking' Wells Report Health Woes

A survey of households in Pennsylvania found that people living near natural gas wells were twice as likely to report upper-respiratory and skin problems than those farther away. The study doesn't prove that the wells cause the reported health problems, but air contaminants, water contamination and stress could be factors. [USA Today]

Report: Water Shortages Could Limit Shale Development Across Globe

Shale gas producers shouldn't be worried about anti-fracking activists, they should be worried about water shortages. About 38 percent of the world's shale resources are in countries which are also dealing with high water stress, meaning that water-intensive fracking is butting heads with more traditional uses of water like, say, drinking and growing food. [E2 Wire]

USGS Report: California Freshwater Withdrawals Are Lowest Since 1960s

Californians, take hope in this devastating drought: state freshwater withdrawals have been reduced to levels not seen since 1965, as disclosed in an early California release of the 2010 USGS water use report. Water use declines began in 1980. There's room for improvement with the state leading in national freshwater withdrawals; irrigation's on top as the largest withdrawer, and the average resident directly uses 181 gallons of water every day. [Circle of Blue]

Seven Ohio Drinking Water Sources Don't Meet State Water Quality Standards for Toxic Algae

Toledo is not the only Ohio location suffering from algae-produced toxins in drinking water sources with seven rivers, lakes and reservoirs contaminated, a state water quality report revealed. The impaired water bodies affect the water supplies of nearly 1 million people around Ohio and highlight the need for stronger prevention of nonpoint source pollution, like runoff from farms and livestock, that contribute to toxic algae blooms. [Circle of Blue]

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